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Jamie wrote the guide book:
Everest Classic Khumbu
Everest Base Camp trek with Kala Pattar
This is the "Oh wow, I really did it," lifetime experience.
Nepal's famous mountain panoramas begin as soon as we lift off from Kathmandu airport and don't stop until we return. The first section to Namche passes through the spectacular and forbidding Dudh Kosi gorge. In the midst of the Himalaya we explore Sagarmatha National Park, staying in the Sherpa villages and summer settlements nestled in the valleys. Namche is juxtaposed between old and new with traders intimate with the various Tibetan tsampas (barley flours) and the different makes of titanium ice screws. Towering above is a galaxy of breath-taking peaks; Ama Dablam, Cholatse, Kangtaiga... Then there's the 8000 metre giants: Makalu, Cho Oyu, Lhotse and Mt Everest who command respect for their absolute height and bulk, and have been the focus of many expeditions. From Lobuche we will visit Everest Base Camp, and for better views, the hill Kala Pattar (5545m/18,222ft) nearby for a close-up the highest mountain in the world.
The Khumbu is the Sherpa name for the Everest region.
In the Everest region there are two possible ways of trekking. Expedition-style means camping with a dining and kitchen tent, cook, sirdar and porters. Teahouse trekking means staying in local lodges. On the whole staying in lodges is now better, it is warmer and more social, although both methods have their advantages. We know the lodge owners well and get the best possible service from them, so we prefer teahouse trekking.
Providing you have sent us your arrival details, you should be met at the airport and escorted to .
Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu 1350m
Arrive in Kathmandu. You’ll be met at the airport by a representative from Explore Himalaya so look out for a sign with your name on it. If, for some strange reason, the Explore Himalaya staff aren't there, either contact us or take a taxi to in Thamel.
You have the rest of the day free to explore Thamel. Thamel is a mass of energy and chaos with a myriad banners, signs, pumping music shops, bakeries, internet cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels and eccentrically clad backpackers. Normally we meet at Sam's bar over a drink before dinner.
Day 2 - Kathmandu 1350m
Today we’ll explore the sights of Kathmandu and the valley (opens in a new window) with a good local guide. We match the sightseeing itinerary to what people haven't seen before; many trekkers are already familiar with Kathmandu. In the late afternoon we can sort out any equipment that you need.
3 - fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding 2640m
We take a spectacular 50 minute flight by Twin Otter plane to Lukla. And after a hearty second breakfast, trek to Phakding, a couple of hours walk. The trail traverses the side of the deep Dudh Kosi valley until we meet the base of the valley.
4 - to Namche 3450m
At Jorsale, a fitting gateway, we enter Sagarmatha National Park. This is a cool damp area since the rugged valley walls block the sun for most of the day. It's not a long day but it is finished with a steep hour and a half or so climb to Namche. Usually we arrive for a late lunch so during the afternoon you have time to discover the village, wash clothes or dive into that book you've been too busy to read. Namche sits in an amphitheater surrounded by mountains, and from here on up we have million dollar views every day.
5 - Namche 3450m
This is an acclimatization day so you are free to explore and/or relax. Options are visiting Thame and its gompas, the Everest View Hotel, the National Park Headquarters and Sherpa cultural centre, Khumjung and Khunde with the Hillary hospital, wildlife spotting, or simply eating and relaxing. From here up our itinerary is dictated by the acclimatization process so we have plenty of shorter days walking.
6 - to Tengboche 3860m
From Namche it is three-quarters of a day's walk to Tengboche. In the forest en route we often see Himalayan tahr, pheasants, barking deer and musk deer. What a place! From Tengboche there's an extensive panorama including the tip of Everest.
7 - to Pangboche 4000m
In the morning we take a look around the huge new Tengboche gompa. The energetic could also climb part of the ridge behind Tengboche. Pangboche, where few groups stay, is an afternoon's stroll away. It makes more sense, acclimatization-wise to stay at Pangboche than spend a traditional two nights at Tengboche. Pangboche is the highest year-round inhabited village. It also has an old gompa, rich in history, which we have the chance to explore.
8 - to Dingboche 4350m
Now we begin passing through high altitude cropping and grazing areas. We have more excellent views of Ama Dablam, and many other mountains. Dingboche has several good lodges and makes a good base for exploring.
9 - to Chukhung 4750m (or Tuglha 4600m)
Alternatively we might make a side trip up to Chukhung, where there are fantastic views down valley towards Shorong Yula and Numbur.
(The trail to Tuglha is wide with huge vistas of the peaks around. It is an easy 2 hour walk to the lodge at Tuglha.)
10 - to Tuglha 4600m (or Dingboche 4350m)
In the morning we have the chance to climb Chukhung Ri for a huge Himalayan panorama. In the afternoon we see where we get to.
11 - to Lobuche 4940m
From Tuglha, it is only a few hours walk to Lobuche but the altitude makes it tougher. Leaving Tuglha, we pass a series of memorials to some of the lives that the mountains around have claimed. The trail follows the ablation valley so we can peer over the moraine and eyeball the glacier close up. Once at Lobuche we have time to explore or relax.
12 - climb Kala Pattar, stay Gorak Shep
Everest day! The usual option is the rewarding climb of Kala Pattar (5600m), a day made easier by staying at Gorak Shep after the strenuous hike.
From Kala Pattar the panorama in every direction is staggering, and of course includes Everest. It may be the top of the world, but from Kala Pattar you will feel on top of the world.
13 - Gorak Shep
Base Camp day. We trek to Everest Base Camp where we will meet some Everest Expeditions and the view of the formidable Khumbu Ice Fall is spectacular.
14 - to Pheriche 4300m / Pangboche 3900m
Heading down feels like you are floating on air.
15 - to Namche 3450m
Today we must reach Namche. Whatever the route we take it will be a classic day's walk. There is a hot shower and a beer waiting for you.
16 - to Lukla 2850m
This is also longer trekking day. If conditions are good this will take around 5-6 hours actual walking. The Lukla lodges gently prepare us for tomorrow - back to so-called civilization. We also have the option of staying at Choplung, then tomorrow morning the hike to Lukla takes less than 40 minutes.
17 - fly to Kathmandu
We fly by plane to Kathmandu in the morning. Occasionally flights are delayed by bad weather. has a great laundry service and lots of hot water.
18 - Kathmandu
A free day for washing, shopping and a last look around Kathmandu. We can suggest other sight-seeing destinations and provide a guide book, or a guide. One option is visiting the picturesque and ancient city of Bhaktapur, one of the other cities of the Kathmandu valley. Patan's Durbar Square is equally worthwhile and there are countless other options: the Kathmandu valley has no less than seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites!
Day 19 - Farewell
We take you to the airport for your flight home. If you wish to stay longer we can offer plenty of suggestions as to what to do.